Sports


A Senior Night to remember for Cardinal women

 

Junior Nnemkadi Ogwumike returned from an ankle injury to score 16 points and grab eight rebounds and second-ranked Stanford capped a second straight unbeaten run through the Pac-10 Conference with a 75-51 victory over visiting California on Thursday night, its 21st straight victory overall.

Jeanette Pohlen added 18 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals as the Cardinal (18-0, 27-2) extended their school record winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 61 (or every home game the current seniors have played) and also captured their 55th in a row against conference opponents.

Stanford heads to the Pac-10 tournament and will play in the semifinals on March 11.

"We want a No. 1 seed and we have to go down to L.A. and play well," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

Kayla Pedersen had 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the Cardinal's sixth consecutive victory in the series.

Stanford led by as many as 26 points after rebounding from an early six-point deficit.

"We're taking three days off. Our team earned it, we need it," VanDerveer said. "We barely had Christmas. I don't even remember it. We've been going, going, going. We need a break. We're taking it."

The five seniors -- Pohlen, Pedersen, Melanie Murphy, Ashley Cimino and Hannah Donaghe, were honored in an on-court ceremony following the contest.

"It's a special night, it's senior night," Pedersen said. "You want to protect your home floor, you want to go undefeated in the Pac-10."

Pedersen scored two of three straight transition baskets to start the second half by Stanford, which clinched its 11th straight regular-season conference crown last weekend. Cal got within nine, Chiney Ogwumike converted a three-point play on the other end moments later.

Her big sister, Nneka Ogwumike, the reigning Pac-10 player of the year, went 6 for 12 from the field, made 4 of 7 free throws and also had three steals in 37 minutes. She came back for 12 minutes in last Saturday's 99-60 rout of Oregon after missing two games with a sprained right ankle.

The Cardinal shot 51.8 percent, held a 40-28 rebounding advantage and forced 16 turnovers while overcoming 15 of their own to win for the 48th time in the last 53 meetings.

Stanford also went unbeaten in regular-season conference play in back-to-back years in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

— Associated Press

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